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seporpn

Is fishing a lot different in the Midwest than the Southeast?

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So... I'm from the Southeast US, Alabama, Georgia, etc. and I've fished my share of bass, bluegill, etc.  Recently, I moved to Minnesota.  They say fishing up here is a lot different.  I'm not that experienced with fishing out here.  So, I was wondering is fishing that different from region to region?  Have I just walked into a sensitive subject that I should just start running from?  Nonetheless, I like the fishing opportunities up here.  Everyone of my neighbors has a boat it seems. :) 

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Lots of things can be the same, but there are a lot of differences too. I don't like to make general statements because there are always exceptions, but most of Minnesota's lakes are natural lakes. No dams or river channels which also means not a lot of standing timber. Minnesota lakes are frozen for half the year and they never warm up as much as southern lakes do. Lots of clear water up north also. The vegetation is often different and the clear water means it will grow deeper as well. Different species of bait fish and predators. Minnesota has walleyes, pike and Muskie.

Bass are targeted a lot less up north because the walleye is often the king up there, lots less pressure on the bass. The lakes up north are generally less fertile and with the shorter growing season, the bass have less to eat and seem to feed more often making them in my eyes, easier to catch. They also don't get nearly as big. With considerably less very heavy cover and smaller fish, lighter tackle is generally used by those that do bass fish. A lot more anglers use spinning gear than you might see down south.

Bass are bass and what works down south will work up north but conditions can be so different that the best options may not always be the same north to south. For example, on a northern lake I fish, there often is a mat of vegetation a couple of feet thick on the bottom. The standard jig and pig or weighted Texas rigged worm can't be dragged along the bottom, it would just disappear in the gunk. I know there are similar lakes down south, just as there are hard bottom lakes up north. So when the conditions call for it, be prepared for a few different circumstances where other options might work better. 

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Interesting Scott!  Thanks for your thoughtful reply.  I'll have to pay more attention to the lake structure and pick the bait that makes most sense.  I'll have to research more on what works with the walleyes, pikes, and muskies.  Muskies look like a bear to get in the boat :)  Well, I'll be experimenting a lot I guess, but I'll have a lot of fun doing it!  Thanks again!

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Hey seporpn, welcome to MN! One of the very first things you'll learn is that we Minnesotans are very defensive about our state lol ;-) We have many lakes and wonderful opportunities to fish for many great species. One of the best things about bass fishing in MN is that you are, in a sense, the minority as most fisherman here target walleye. This is a wonderful thing! There is much less pressure fishing for bass here than you are probably used to.

My advice is to ignore those people and keep watching those YouTube videos! Any information you are able to have at your disposal is to your advantage. Sure, some things may not work as well as down south, but that doesn't mean it won't work at all. 

I would also advise to not, however, run from those conversations. Fishing for walleye is different than bass fishing so anything you learn along the way betters you as a fisherman. You'll also catch many walleyes while trying to catch bass at certain times of day/year. It's really a lot of fun since they fight differently. If the bass bite is cold then you can always switch to targeting walleye and vise-versa.

Be prepared to have some toothy friends bite off your lures while bass fishing here. Small northerns inhabit the same territories as the bass you're targeting, especially using baits that move. While northerns are really fun to catch, the small ones can be a pain in the rear when the bite off your line or chew up your fingers taking out the hook. 

Again, welcome to MN and I wish you luck!

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Yeah, defensive but in a Minnesota Nice kind of way Wild24 :).  I've been asking more questions to my fishing experienced coworkers up here.   They have lots of good advice.   I'm a little worried after I saw a youTube video of a cat almost getting swallowed up by a pike.  Jeez, I'm not used to that at all.  Are they eels or fish?  LOL  Gotta get me some gloves (and a bat just in case)

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Enjoy the summer up there.  Both weeks!! :)

SE Kansas grass grower

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20 hours ago, seporpn said:

Yeah, defensive but in a Minnesota Nice kind of way Wild24 :).  I've been asking more questions to my fishing experienced coworkers up here.   They have lots of good advice.   I'm a little worried after I saw a youTube video of a cat almost getting swallowed up by a pike.  Jeez, I'm not used to that at all.  Are they eels or fish?  LOL  Gotta get me some gloves (and a bat just in case)

Ha, the bat may help but gloves won't (unless you get some chain mail gloves lol)! I would recommend getting a Fish Grip or a Fish Grip Jr. (I use the Jr.). Also, you can pick them up by the gills with a little practice. Be careful, though, as grabbing by the gills can still put some nasty cuts on your fingers. There's a technique to it, just google search it and i'm sure you'll find a good explanation.  They're really fun to catch when the small ones leave you alone.

Northerns generally like to do a violent shake just as you're trying to get the hook out. Their timing is usually spot on unfortunately! The fish grip has worked amazingly well for this as I no longer get scared that they're going to throw the hook in my fingers. 

What part of MN did you move to?

13 hours ago, Sprocket said:

Enjoy the summer up there.  Both weeks!! :)

Man, it sure feels like it sometimes!

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Grab the pike by the back of the head. Smaller ones squeeze a bit right on the gills, big ones, grab them by the back of the head and you slip your fingers just inside the gill flaps. Your fingers come nowhere near their teeth. Have a pair of pliers in your other hand to remove the hook. A set of jaw spreaders are also mandatory. Use a long cord and tie the spreaders to the boat. If you don't, at some point you will toss back a pike with the spreaders still in their mouth. I know, I've done it and so have a lot of others.

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1)odds are good your first decent pike or musky will scare you pretty good, lol.  They also like big topwaters and are a fun bonus explosion on a spook.

2) Don't get me wrong, sunfish and crappie are good, but perch, walleye and whitefish are absolutely delicious.  

 

As for the bass, though, a lot of the basics still apply, though there are some definite difference between fishing for largemouth and fishing for smallmouth primarily.  Smallmouth are an absolute blast, and a lot of the same/similar techniques apply.  If you can T-rig/jig, drop shot, tube, and fish a crankbait, your basics are well covered.  Things like dock and visible point patterns can fish similarly, but finding smallmouth is a bit trickier sometimes, so getting your hands on maps comes in very handy. 

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I have some of the same struggles watching a traditional bass show. They tend to focus on reservoirs and shad as the primary forage base. I fish on natural lakes with very clear water where the standard bass table fare is either bluegills, minnows, or craw fish. Because we have Northern Pike in abundance, I don't pay $20 for a lure. It just hurts too much when I get broken off.

However, I agree with most that the same basic ideas apply. Find the food, find the fish. We have more grass up here to contend with and yes it can grow deeper. I disagree with a previous post that indicated a jig is difficult to use. I catch plenty of fish up here on a jig. You just have to work it a bit differently. I've found that swimming a jig over the top of deep grass can be very effective.

I bought some "fish grabbers" to handle the smaller Northerns. It works well and minimizes the time I'm screwing around with them so I can get back to bass fishing.

One more thought, MN is a great place to bass fish for reasons previously mentioned. There may be many boats on a lake but very few if any are targeting bass. We are the minority and I like it that way. One downside (other than the obvious short season) is that the DNR tends to focus on Walleye statistics so it can sometimes be difficult to find accurate lake information regarding bass populations. I use the MN recreational compass to research lakes and I look for lakes with a protected slot or a catch and release policy. When in doubt, I fish the lake myself and form my own opinion. Most lakes in MN have at least some bass in them.

Message me if you want any specifics. Thanks!

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